As a young priest he was on the progressive side of theological debates but shifted to the right after the student revolutions of 1968
So, now you're twelve years old when the Fatherland invades Poland, and if I recall my history correctly, things were a little bumpy in Europe there for the next couple years. You're a reluctant Hitler Youth and serve on an anti-aircraft gun crew. Then you find your calling in the Church.
And your Road to Damascus moment is a bunch of French hippies parading with banners?
Official Benedict XVI photo courtesy General J.C. Christian.